What follows is from CouncilmanArmin Mizani's Keller Wire newsletter:
Budget Discussions - What's in the Numbers?
As many have heard, this year's proposed budget includes two tax relief opportunities for Keller taxpayers. This is good news for many taxpayers given the increase we saw in property valuations across Keller and all of Tarrant County. The increase in valuations provides an opportunity for local taxing entities, including city councils and school boards, to reevaluate their current tax rates along with the services being provided.
So what is your Keller City Council proposing for fiscal year 2016-2017? First, we are reducing the tax rate from .43469 to .43000. This reduction in tax rate marks the third year in a row for Keller City Council. Second, we are increasing the Homestead Exemption from 1% to 4%. This relief opportunity is specifically geared towards Keller homeowners and allows homeowners to exempt up to 4% of their home values from being taxed. So if you live in a $400,000 home, your home will now be taxed at a valuation of $384,000 as opposed to $400,000. This is relief that I have been strongly in support of and marks the first homestead increase in over 30 years for Keller.
So where is the remaining "new" money going? After taking the tax relief opportunities into account, the City is left with approximately $2 million. Here is how the new money is proposed to being spent: 1) $456,000 in employee compensation to account for a 3% raise and health care increases; 2) $300,000 into a Fire Apparatus Replacement Fund to account for replacement of future firefighter vehicles; 3) $453,401 into New Fire Facility Debt payment (7year debt) to assist in the payment for refurbishing our older fire stations; 4) $390,313 towards New Road project debt payment (7 year debt); and 5) $189,402 towards additional TIRZ payment (debt that was taken out for Keller Town Center which becomes due in 2018).
All in all, although there are still a few items for continued conversation, I believe this is a well balanced budget that allows for relief opportunities all the while paying down existing debt. However, this is YOUR budget, Keller. I hope to hear from you with your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. And as always, I encourage you to attend the two public hearings scheduled forSeptember 6 and September 13 to provide additional input.